“Gardening requires both patience and creativity. You think nothing is going to come out of the ground, and all of a sudden everything’s ready at the same time! That’s when you need to find ways to deal with all that bounty so you don’t lose anything that you’ve worked so hard to grow.” — Ricardo
When they’re freshly harvested, beets taste sweet and not at all earthy. So you can eat them raw. You can even make desserts with them. During harvest season, we cook the various varieties (yellow, red, Chioggia, white) in all sorts of ways. If you have a juicer, you can even make your own beet juice instead of buying it. You can also add some beet colour to your recipes. And don’t forget that the greens are perfectly edible—add them to your salads!
Cooking radishes gives you a whole new perspective on them: They become a little less sharp and somewhat sweeter, without losing any of their enjoyable crunch. You can pan-fry them, grill them on the barbecue or just roast them on a cooking sheet in the oven. But they’re also great raw as crudités, in a salad or in a sandwich.
Everybody loves stuffed zucchini blossoms! But how do you stuff them without destroying them? When exposed to heat, the flowers tend to close, which makes stuffing them difficult. The ideal moment to pick them or buy them is early in the morning, when they’re still wide open. If they’re kept in a cool place, they’ll stay flexible for a few hours more. At RICARDO, we’re a little obsessed with fried stuffed zucchini blossoms.
When it’s in season, Swiss chard has lovely colourful stalks that can be cooked like celery. And the leaves are delicious in salads, braised or pan-fried like spinach. The whole vegetable can be cooked, with nothing wasted. Our must-try recipe? These veal meatballs paired with the leafy vegetable.
This humble vegetable can be the star of all your recipes. We suggest caramelizing it for our veggie pâté to bring out all its naturally sweet flavours. We also like to pickle onion petals to dress up a salad. And to add a splash of red to your onions, simply toss some beet juice into the marinade.
Tuscan kale and butternut squash
These two vegetables go beautifully together in a risotto. This is a dish than lets you get the upper hand on Tuscan kale (a variety of kale from Tuscany), whose long, wavy, bluish-green leaves can be a bit intimidating. Like kale, this leafy cabbage has a slight bitterness that the butternut squash can balance out with its creamy texture and buttery taste.
You can easily grow this strange-looking vegetable in your garden. And as you get familiar with it, you’ll discover it’s fantastic raw, in a salad, or with other fresh ingredients like apple, plum, grapes and mizuna (a leafy vegetable with a slightly mustardy taste that resembles arugula). Kohlrabi is also a nice addition to a plate of crudités.
This is a hardy, easy-to-grow plant. But the harvest can be huge, so what to do? To deal with the overflow, we suggest kale chips. As an appetizer or a healthy snack, they go well with a Mexican-inspired sauce (lime–chili), an Italian one (Parmigiano-Reggiano–lemon–black pepper) or a Japanese one (sesame–wasabi). These three combinations are also delicious on popcorn. To take a break from chips, smoothies and salads, we also devised a rustic pie. Like Tuscan cabbage, kale goes great with butternut squash—that’s why we added it to our pie.
By the end of the season, hot-pepper plants are going strong. We suggest three spicy condiments. With your bounty of hot peppers, you can easily make your own sambal oelek, Tabasco-style sauce or Maghreb-style harissa paste.
Harissa is great in a tajine filled with vegetables (rutabaga, eggplant, zucchini, peppers). That’s a highly nutritious vegetarian meal, but you can also add lamb merguez. And harissa goes well with fish and shrimp, or can be used to spice up a pasta dish.
More interested in fruit? Click here to check out what fruits we grow in the RICARDO garden.